Yes-Men … They’re Everywhere

By | November 7, 2016

[November 7, 2016]  Senior leaders are judged on their effectiveness.  One of the resources to ensure a leader can do their job is a good executive staff and skillful advisors; the makeup of which is crucial to leader success.  But when staffs and advisors are composed of yes-men, the leader will be isolated from reality and a distorted worldview.

These yes-men make us feel good when they validate our decisions and make us feel like we’re right all the time.  We trust them to provide us with accurate and timely information as well as guidance and reinforcement.  The problem, regardless of their personal motivation, is that they push the leader into dangerous territory.

Francesca Gino has a good article in the Harvard Business Review called Let Your Workers Rebel that gets to the heart of this problem.  He tells us that the need to conform as we climb the corporate ladder increases significantly and while some conformity is good the pendulum has swung too far in the direction of conformity so much so that it is stifling creativity, causing stagnation, and fueling complacency.1

Leaders can get too comfortable with yes-men and who hasn’t seen it happen to the best of leaders.  The best way to avoid yes-men insulating a leader is for that leader to willingly give up more of their authority to workers … and keep the responsibility for the job being done right.  It means letting others solve problems on their own by telling them what needs to be done rather than how to do it.

It takes a lot of courage and caring for a leader to surround himself (or herself) with people who are willing to speak up and tell it straight to the leader.  Those in the staff or advisor who works with a leader adds great benefit and as such their selection to be on the team should be a carefully considered decision.

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Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I provide one article every day. My writings are influenced by great thinkers such as Friedrich Nietzsche, Karl Jung, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Jean Piaget, Erich Neumann, and Jordan Peterson, whose insight and brilliance have gotten millions worldwide to think about improving ourselves. Thank you for reading my blog.

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